Tennessee becomes first state to protect musicians, other artists from AI

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By journalsofus.com

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday signed legislation designed to protect songwriters, artists and other music industry professionals from the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.

The move makes Tennessee, long known as the birthplace of country music and a launchpad for music giants, the first state in the US to take such a measure. Supporters say the goal is to ensure AI tools can’t copy an artist’s voice without their consent. This bill will be effective from July 1.

“We employ more people in the music industry in Tennessee than any other state,” Lee told reporters shortly after signing the bill. “Artists own intellectual property. He has gifts. There is a uniqueness about them that is theirs and theirs alone, certainly not artificial intelligence.”

The Volunteer State is one of three states where name, photograph, and likeness are considered property rights rather than rights of publicity. According to the newly signed law – called the Ensuring Equality, Voice and Image Protection Act or “ELVIS Act” – voice equality will now be added to that list.

AP correspondent Margie Szaroleta reports on Tennessee’s law protecting musicians in the age of artificial intelligence.

The law also creates a new civil action where people can be held liable if they publish or display a person’s voice without permission, as well as framing an artist’s name, photographs, voice or likeness without proper authorization. Let’s use a technique for.

Yet it remains to be seen how effective this law will be for artists who want to protect their art from being destroyed and replicated by AI without their permission. Supporters like Lee acknowledged that despite widespread support from music industry insiders and unanimous approval from the Tennessee Statehouse, the legislation has not been tested. This level of bipartisan agreement is a striking anomaly amid the ongoing conflict between the GOP supermajority and a handful of Democrats.

Many Tennessee musicians say they don’t have the luxury of waiting for the perfect solution, pointing out that the dangers of AI are already visible on their cellphones and in their recording studios.

Country star Luke Bryan said, “Stuff comes up on my phone and I can’t say it’s not me.” “It’s a real deal now and hopefully this will curb it and slow it down.”

The Republican governor held the bill signing event inside a packed Robert’s Western World on downtown Nashville’s Lower Broadway. The beloved honky tonk is often packed with tourists eager to hear traditional country music and eat fried bologna sandwiches.

Lee jokes that he and his wife Maria sometimes sneak into Robert’s for a secret date, while other lawmakers share stories of swinging by the prestigious establishment on weekends.

Naming the newly enacted law after Elvis Presley wasn’t just a nod to one of the state’s most distinguished residents.

Presley’s death in 1977 sparked a controversial and lengthy legal battle over the unauthorized use of his name and likeness, as many argued that once a celebrity dies, their name and image enter the public domain. She goes.

However, by 1984 the Tennessee Legislature passed the Individual Rights Protection Act, which ensured that individuality rights did not stop at death and could be passed on to others. It states that “Personal rights…constitute property rights and are freely assignable and licensable, and thus do not terminate on the death of the person protected.”

The move was largely seen as important for protecting Presley’s estate, but has also been praised as protecting the names, photographs, and likenesses of all Tennessee public figures in the decades since.

Now Tennessee will add vocal similarity to those protections.

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